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Govt issues directive for healthcare technologies, medical supplies

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KATHMANDU — For the first time, the government has issued ‘Healthcare Technologies and Medical Supplies Directive 2017’ for streamlining the management of purchase and distribution of medical technologies and equipment.

The Cabinet meeting has endorsed the directive on Monday presented by the Ministry of Health paving the way for capping the widespread irregularities flourishing under random and unchecked pricing system for healthcare technologies and equipment.

With the endorsement of the directive, Health Minister Gagan Thapa said,  the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the health technologies and equipment will be fixed.

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“The health service will be affordable and quality-based with the enforcement of the directive as purchase of quality healthcare materials and equipment will be made affordable,” Minister Thapa said, adding that his will prevent the misuse of State coffers.

The Ministry of Health prepared the directive as per the suggestion and advice received from medicinal consultants and advisory committee.

From now on, companies setting up drug manufacturing industries and overseeing the supply of medical equipment and technologies will have to seek a recommendation from the Department of Drug Administration (DDA) and be registered with the government.

The DDA will also be tasked with the job of monitoring the compliance with the new directive.

The MoH will subject the concerned companies and individuals to legal action under Drugs Act and Procurement Act including other regulations for noncompliance with the directive.

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Drinking 3 cups of coffee or tea daily may keep stroke risk at bay

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — There have been several conflicting studies on the health benefits of drinking coffee and tea and their various varieties. But drinking up to three cups of coffee or tea in a day is safe because it reduces irregular heartbeat and stroke risk, according to a new study published in the journal JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

Coffee has previously been believed to worsen abnormal heart rhythms, as doctors generally discourage patients suffering from the condition. However, the results of this particular study say that a daily consumption of upto 300 mg of caffeine may be safe for arrhythmic patients.

This is because the caffeine acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and blocks the effect of adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical which causes Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

A single cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine. It acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and works to block the effects of adenosine — a chemical that causes AFib.

AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder, causes the heart to beat rapidly and skip beats, and if left untreated, can cause strokes.

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“There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” said lead author Peter Kistler, Director at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital.

But, “caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea have long-term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,” he added.

A meta-analysis of 228,465 participants showed that AFib frequency decreasing by 6 per cent in regular coffee drinkers, and an analysis of 115,993 patients showed a 13 per cent reduced risk.

Another study of 103 post-heart attack patients who received an average of 353 mg of caffeine a day showed improvement in heart rate and no significant arrhythmias — or abnormal heart rhythms, that cause the heart to beat too fast, slow or unevenly.

However, in two studies, where patients drank at least 10 cups and nine cups of coffee per day, showed an increased risk for ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) – a condition in which the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) beat very quickly.

On the other hand, patients with pre-existing heart conditions who consumed two or more energy drinks — that contains concentrated caffeine — per day reported palpitations within 24 hours.

With Agency Inputs

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